Winter Sun

February 01, 2012

It seems to me that most poems are set in spring or summer, and I was pleased to discover this one by Molly Fisk, a Californian, set in cold midwinter. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Winter Sun

How valuable it is in these short days,
threading through empty maple branches,
the lacy-needled sugar pines.

Its glint off sheets of ice tells the story
of Death’s brightness, her bitter cold.

We can make do with so little, just the hint
of warmth, the slanted light.

The way we stand there, soaking in it,
mittened fingers reaching.

And how carefully we gather what we can
to offer later, in darkness, one body to another.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation ( of Poetry magazine.  It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Poem copyright ©2010 by Molly Fisk from her most recent book of poetry, “The More Difficult Beauty,” Hip Pocket Press, 2010.  Reprinted by permission of Molly Fisk and the publisher.  Introduction copyright ©2011 by The Poetry Foundation.  The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

NOTE: Poetry magazine, published by the Poetry Foundation, will give away an unlimited number of free copies of the April 2012 issue to book clubs and reading groups that submit their request by March 23. This is in honor of National Poetry Month and the magazine's centennial. Click here to request your reading group's free copy.

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  1. Nice find. We haven't had much snow here this year (just two major snowfalls) but even on brown-gray winter days there is something so precious about those few moments of slanted light. I feel like I need to race out and catch them.

  2. We live in FL and it's been very warm for winter even here. I'm trying to enjoy the beautiful sunny days and blue sky (and ignore the sweating) since so many people face gray days all winter.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I don't read enough poetry--Winter Sun is very fitting right now! I work at the University of Nebraska by the way--the Omaha campus. Cool that Poetry is giving away free copies to reading groups!

  4. I knew you worked at a university, but I don't know if I remembered it was the University of Nebraska--how cool!

    I want to read more poetry this year. I picked up a book at my library bookstore that contains poems by women--maybe I'll start there.